Lakeland Health Care

Patient Stories

Celebrating Survivors

Age Diagnosed
Back Surgery
Feature Story

Jason Griffiths of Berrien Springs enjoys living life to the fullest. Whether he’s mountain biking, jet skiing, or coaching his daughter’s softball team, it’s clear he’s not interested in sitting on the sidelines.

In the spring of 2013, at age 40, Jason wasn’t willing to let a degenerative spinal disc condition take him out of the game for good. He was ready to get rid of the back pain, numbness in his leg, and an inability to sleep, symptoms that physical rehabilitation, stretches, cortisone injections, and pain medications were not helping.

In May 2013, he underwent a third microdiscectomy to ease the pain of a bulging disc in his lower back. He again chose Christian Sikorski, MD, FAANS, FACS, Neurosurgeon at Lakeland Neurosurgery in St. Joseph, to perform the minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Sikorski had also performed Jason’s first spinal surgery in 2004.

Jason learned about Dr. Sikorski through friends and Ronald Baker, MD, his primary care provider at Southwestern Medical Clinic in Stevensville. Dr. Baker referred Jason to Dr. Sikorski. Until then, he had never had a surgery of any kind before.

“I was apprehensive,” Jason said. “But the office visit with Dr. Sikorski – seeing his attitude and professionalism – put me at ease.”

Jason also appreciated the coordination and compassion of Dr. Sikorski’s team during his care, especially Renee Shafran, Practice Coordinator, and Amy Gibson, RN, Senior Specialty Practice Nurse. “They understand what kind of pain you’re in, and they’re very accommodating,” Jason said. “They connect with you on a personal level, above and beyond a professional level. They know me.”

After his first surgery, Jason said he walked out of the hospital and was back to work in two weeks. He also walked out of the hospital pain-free after his most recent surgery by Dr. Sikorski – and has kept going ever since. “I was pitching at my daughter’s softball practice the next day,” Jason said. “A week after my surgery, I went for a 22-mile bike ride. But I took it easy – I knew my limitations.”

Jason admitted that even Dr. Sikorski has told him to “tone it down a little” when it comes to his very active lifestyle.

“Dr. Sikorski tells you like it is – he connects with you and talks to you like you’re more than a patient,” Jason said. “You can tell it’s more than a job for him. He cares about what he’s doing. He understands he’s making a diff erence in a lot of people’s lives.”

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